tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 22, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST
in that school that day. call the witnesses. let's play "hardball." let me start tonight with this. like barnacles on a boat suspicious matters cling to the governor's office in trenton. who struck up the conspiracy which led a deputy chief of staff to alert it is time for the jamup to occur. who scripted the cover up that the bridge tie up was the result of a traffic survey?
did the governor step in to shut down the noise level by calling governor cuomo of new york to get him to cool down the investigation? how does anyone account for the entry in the journal of hoboken mayor dawn zimmer that the lieutenant governor put squeeze on her? the lieutenant governor denies the conversation. there are questions about the matters but the matters sit there for the prosecutors to pursue. unfortunately, for the governor of new jersey all it takes is for one associate to testify that he had reason to know what was up. the question is who of any of the names david wildstein or bridgett kelly or one of the reports christie is reported to having chief of staff o'dowd will provide faithful
information under oath. the threat is clear. it takes one hole in his defense to sink his ship. howard fine is msnbc political analyst. richard, with your advice ewe put together a set of conditions that could be a problem. here is the treacherous path. he needs to hope that no more incriminating documents surface which may seem like a long shot if you consider how free wheeling some aides communicate. second, that no one in the inner circle decides to pin some of the blame on him in exchange with with prosecutors for immunity. everybody that provides testimony concludes christie wasn't involved at all.
and fifth, no other leads turn up which give prosecutors an excuse to broaden investigation. based on others brewing including the claims those odds don't seem promising. richard, expand on that in terms of the exposure in which the governor now sits. >> there are a number of potential pit falls have you have summarized for the governor here. there are state and federal investigations going on as well as the legislative inquiry going on all of whom have subpoena power and the potential for putting people under oath, immunizing them and bringing perjury charges. there is a specific statute in new jersey that criminal mischief statute that deals with interruption, deliberate
interruption of public transportation of a substantial nature which clearly this was. so the prosecutors will be armed certainly in the first line of individuals who were involved in causing the traffic delays with potential criminal statutes not insubstantial in the penalties three to five years and actually five to ten in the eevent that the substantial interruption recklessly causes death. we know that one individual did die for whom medical attention was called. the initial report was, though, that she was gone before the ambulance arrived. but that's an indication the fact that these are serious
crimes in new jersey. >> let me go back to howard on the reporting of this. we have in the reports with sound journalism that there is an e-mail that prosecutors have hands on that says time to start traffic problems in fort lee. we know it went from bridgett kelly to wildstein at the port authority. it seems like if it is mischief they have handy material and they can squeeze those people with the threat of incarceration, serious prison time and say if we don't get the governor we are going to get you so you better cooperate. >> one interesting part of that e-mail exchange is wildstein didn't say what are you talking about. she said time to start traffic problems in fort lee. wildstein didn't say what are you talking about which indicates there were other conversations.
he wasn't surprised by her e-mail. this is something they talked about before. as richard says it will be fleshed out by investigations and subpoenas and so forth. and to me another key player here that has been not discussed enough is david sampson who is a very close friend of the governor's and a lawyer in new jersey of considerable note who is very much involved in the port authority and who hired one of the premiere lawyers who knows about new jersey who is a federal judge who advised about the port authority. as richard knows there will be a lot of lawyers involved here and the great defense attorney here in washington would say you don't just represent your client, you represent the
situation. there is a heck of a situation developing here where a lot of lawyers are going to be involved. it is like a whole split screen story. >> let's take a look at other matters in hoboken. look at this huffington post. the easiest criminal issue is a conspiracy. not in accordance in whatever rules govern shutting down roadways. i throw in the hoboken case where you have the fellow you mentioned david sampson, lawyer for the rockefeller group. they have all of that information right now. they have the woman's, the mayor of hoboken's diary entry saying i am being squeezed by the lieutenant governor who says she comes with word from the governor you better do something or else you don't get disaster funds.
it does seem like a lot of room that the prosecutors can look for a hole in the ship of the state of new jersey. you don't have to get them all, you find one hole in the argument that the governor knew nothing of the behavior of his lieutenant governor. you have to believe the hoboken mayor is lying and bridget kelly is lying and believe a lot of rotten testimony and dishonesty on the part of other people to believe he is clean. >> clearly, chris, if in fact there was a pattern of use of with holding disaster funds in exchange for promise to support unrelated either legislation or projects or the like then you have potential violations, a serious federal crime if that,
in fact, is the case. right now it is she said/she said situation. obviously as you mentioned there seems to be a rather loose use of e-mails in the governor's inner circle. and those ee-mails will eventually be subpoenaed if they have been deleted. they will be restored. and there will be serious inquir ey into whether there was a pattern of misuse of the authority of the governor's office immediately following this landslide election which is reminiscent as you have pointed out before of the arrogance of power that we have seen historically in a situation where a chief executive exalted over a significant victory at the polls now asserts his
authority in ways that are overreaching and improper. >> the newark star ledger said today enough evidence to pursue hoboken's mayor claims against chris christie administration. the word if believed could be considered by a jury as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. there are people serving long prison terms based on the sworn testimony of a single person without corroborating physical evidence. it seems to me like the mayor -- not just she said/she said, you have a mayor who had no other reason to bring the case except that it happened and certainly wouldn't replicate a diary entry. the fraud time and prison time facing to her if it was shown that she fabricated a diary entry to get publicity whereas there is an obvious motive on
the part of the lieutenant governor to deny, quote, that version of what happened. >> what is going on here is what some people at some times might regard as business as usual in a place like new jersey is now being looked at in a different light because of the bridge incident. the bridge incident has changed the optics of this where things that might have otherwise been looked at the other way, u.s. attorneys got a lot of other things to do than to try to turn new jersey into the pristine reformer state that it is never going to be. now everybody is on guard and everybody is aware. and a lot of democrats who in the past might have decided to play ball with chris christie, who had played ball with him in the past, who didn't want to be
threatened by him or wanted to go along, the mayor said times and circumstances have changed. i'm going to come forward. one of the things chris christie has to worry aboutt and anybody thinking of him as a potential presidential candidate is the democrats going along are going to say in the light of day let's look at this a little differently and i will come forward. i'm sure that dawn zimmer is not the only one thinking that right now. >> thank you. >> it seems to me that in the real world federal prosecution is not going to go forward based on what we have seen publicly at this point with respect to the mayor zimmer situation. however, if there is
corroboration it seems that her story does have the badge of credibility associated with it, why would she make this up and take these risks? yet prosecutors and in this case the federal prosecutor in newark, an experienced, savvy careful guy, i don't think he will bring a case simply based on the existing record. >> you know what, i think it was a great comment by jim of the "new york times" that only when a crime became something that the average person can understand does it grab the head lines. water gate was a break in. we lock our doors at night. the bridge closing everybody trying to get to work on time and got there late and is ticked about it can get it. we can get it all of us. it ain't sophisticated. it is simple. thank you. coming up two rising stars, two dramatic falls from grace at the same time.
chris christie and just former virginia governor bob mcdonnell both considered up and comers in the republican party. christie fighting for political future and mcdonnell indicted. bad week for the east coast republicans. obama reaches out to russian president vladimir putin trying to get a handle on sochi olympics threat. president obama has a chance to look good helping out mr. tough guy. and the film maker. this guy thought he had won the thing. it is great to watch to learn it from the inside. finally look who is back in the head lines. >> that's booze, i guess. that is toronto mayor rob ford under the influence admits he was drinking. he is in the side show where he will always be. this is "hardball." i bought a car, over and tells you, and you're like. a good deal or not. looking at truecar.com. there's no buyer's remorse.
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year before. christie is in the political fight of his life in new jersey and mcdonnell and his wife indicted charged with accepting more than $400,000 in loans and gifts. the christie machine broke a basic law of politics codified by a corrupt philadelphia politician and passed along by richard aregood, quote, never do nothing crooked or evil that the average person can understand. and governor mcdonnell and wife accused of accepting expensive gifts. here is information about a new york shopping spree. jw paid for the entire luxury shopping trip for maureen mcdonnell and spent
approximately 10,999 at oscar delarenta. as promised by maureen mcdonnell jw was seated next to them at the eventilator that evening. these two governors, jersey's and virginia's recent won the face of the republican future just four years ago are in a far different place. alex, what i like about you is you see things in perspective. what is strange when you pull back a little bit is the recognizable wrong doing pinned on the governors if it can be pinned. people get a bridge jamup. they get screwed around with political rivals and get muscle on the docks of new jersey. they can figure that one out
from the movies have seen that. now you have supermarket sweepstakes in the new york city where somebody is running around town grabbing stuff off the shelf knowing some sugar daddy apparently is picking up the bill. why is this guy doing this? who is this person who wants to say go buy what you want and i will take care of it? >> the american public and the residents of virginia certainly get the short end of the stick. a close second is jonni williams who got passing endorsements from the governor, good seats at certain dinner tables. really i think at the end of the day the point about the big picture this confirms every american's worst suspicion about politics and what happens when
you get into power. you become a bully, become corrupt, take gifts. you are not a public servant anymore. republicans have been successful in anything in the sort of grand trajectory it is public service. republicans in congress and in these two specific examples have shown us the ugly side of being a public servant, the corruption, naked greed and the sense that you are no longer holding to public office. >> i think it is a good thought because every time government looks bad the right wing, not necessarily the republican party, but the right wing wins. we can't trust the east coast republicans. any power corrupt so give it to us, the guys who don't believe
-- we may go to washington and we don't live there. we want to be a part of it. >> if we are talking about rolex watches and traffic jams that really helps the overall attack on government that alex has referred to that has been going on for decades now. the interesting thing is if you bother to read chris christie's inauguration address which he delivered yesterday he talks about making government work and compromise and bipartisanship and having mand material drug treatment for nonviolent offenders. all of that is thrown out of the water by bullyism and by possibility of illegality. and the same thing with mcdonnell first seen as a conservative guy. he is now remembered for rolex watches and gowns for his wife this discredits government and
politicians, republicans couldn't be happier. they want power taken away because might use the power to help boost the economy and help americans who need a little more assistance. >> today we found out that mike lee of utah and ted cruz being named to be the voice of the tea party. i guess we will cover it on msnbc. so a three ring circus next weekend. it seems they will make the point politics sucks. >> what is interesting to me is the tea party announced who their guy is but the establishment republicans haven't picked their guy because
the -- it is a problem for the likes of john boehner, someone who said he wants to get immigration reform done. they don't have ambassadors anymore. marco rubio there is no one left, they have a very short bench. >> we picked up the rock and we see the bug life under the rock. it's not pretty to look at. maybe somebody will say a working class regular guy may be the smart move for them. >> what we have here or in the next year or two is the division between tea party legislators like ted cruz and rand paul competing and a few of the governors left out there. you mentioned kasak, scott walker, maybe jeb bush though his nomdoesn't want him to do it. >> and the voters don't want him.
>> probably. this is divided between tea party and more pure legislators, senators. the party can't come to terms with the conflict. >> 2016 can be a crazy year. this can be like the 1964 election with lyndon johnson being portrayed by hillary clinton grabbing 60% of the vote. she is more established as a democrat. she can grab the middle. republicans run a bird. we have a sweeping election. it might mean something. thank you. up next toronto mayor rob ford back in the news. another video tape emerged and once again he says he was drinking. this is "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." rob ford at it again. a video posted on social media shows him babbling with a jamaican accent in a fast food restaurant. have a look and take a listen. >> well, the mayor spoke briefly the reporters yesterday and addressed the video. here is what he said. >> were you drinking? >> a little bit, yeah. >> do you think the video was offensive to people? >> no. i was with friends and what i do in my personal life and with my friends is up to me.
>> next up former california governor arnold schwarzenegger went under cover as a physical trainer. while it is hard not to recognize the guy some gym rats had more difficulty than you would expect. >> how many miles are you running? >> hi. >> how is it going? >> pretty good, thanks. >> drinking a lot of water? that's good. remember 75% of the body is water. keep drinking. maybe burns it grows. remember that. >> you look so familiar. >> maybe you saw me on fbi most wanted list. stop being a baby. >> you look so good, so handsome. united states and russia
welcome back to "hardball." remember when republicans were accusing president obama of not being strong enough with russian president vladimir putin, that he was being played. after edward snowden landed in moscow senator orbin said they know our president is weak. they're playing on it. a relationship that seemed to be frozen in a cold place is showing small signs now of thawing even if it is just to do with the olympics, it is still a significant development and basically the first time they asked russians for security help with the united states. yesterday president obama and president putin spoke about
security at the games. russia is facing a daunting task. sochi is 400 miles west of one of the world's unrested regions. is this a case where the old east/west divide between us and the old soviets pails in comparison of enemy. chuck todd and evan coleman. i love the geopolitical development here because i have long thought like a lot of people have that the old east/west fight would be replaced by a north/south fight because of the nature of the way the world is configured. and fighting with the russian
people and jewish people that wanted to leave and the other people that wanted to leave. now we confront potentially a common enemy, the terrorists. you thoughts on how this could be with the relationship between the two countries? >> the last time there was actually cooperation more on the intelligence level during the boston marathon bombing when there was concern that maybe the tsarnaev brothers had had more than just inspirational help from the chechen republics. this little bit of a back story here, the russians have always been trying to enlist the united states in their fight with the chechens and the united states has always been hesitant to sort of agree that what russia is going through in what some argue is somewhat of a civil war of sorts the u.s. has never sort of given its stamp of you are in the middle of fighting islamic terrorism, too. but on this and in particular the games obviously i think that this is where you are seeing the transactional guy that is vladimir putin. he doesn't want to get embarrassed on the world stage. a terrorist attack or lack of
security at an olympics would be an embarrassment to him and he knows the united states at the end of the day will help as long as ehe is asking. >> what is he asking for? >> right now he is not exactly asking for american war planes and soldiers and intelligence. right now he is asng for equipment that was built and was developed at the cost of american lives in the places like afghanistan and iraq. it is not a jump that he would ask. what we shouldn't expect is for the russians to be eagerly accepting our military and ships and aircraft in the event we
have to evacuate athletes. even though we did see cooperation around the boston bombings it was fraught with complications. in order to get a congressional delegation over there we had to get steven segall to serve as interpreter. >> if you have a proud guy who has to bring back greater russia in terms of ego and want to be mr. tough guy like he presents himself, isn't it hard to ask for technical assistance? do the russians like admitting we are ahead of them technically? >> it is embarrassing but i'm sure it doesn't rank on putin's top ten list. what is more embarrassing? asking for assistance or having the olympics turn into a terrorist attack. i think it is clear why they are willing to ask for u.s. support. >> chuck, do you have a sense of the calibration that went into the decision by the president and the first family and the whole circle around him to skip the olympics? >> i know that some would read it as a full fledged snub. i think there was a decision to send a message with the
delegation. the relationship is not good. let's not pretend that it is. there is all sorts of disagreements putin does want to be treated like a superpower. and in many ways he goes around searching for ways to poke, stick his finger in the president's eye. i think now in more experts i talk to think it wouldn't matter who was president right now this is what putin would be doing to everybody because it is all about reasserting what he believes is russia's place in a bipolar world or tripolar world. he wants russia to be one of the legs of the world stool. this is the united states wanting to send a message to
putin on gay rights. the idea if vice president biden wanted to go to sochi -- i don't think a lot of the administration wanted to go to sochi. it is not the most inviting place. >> let's get back to the north/south fight. you are the expert. i remember watching with the jewish people -- we covered the story trying to get them out of russia. i was told at the time it was the russian government at that time's fear that if they let jewish people out it would signal other nationalities they could get out, too. all of these people wanted their independence. is this north/south problem in russia whatever they say or we
say sort of the problem we are facing with the islamist world? >> that is what the russians argue how can you not understand the fight we are fighting because it is the same fight you are fighting in afghanistan? there are connections between the region and al qaeda and the taliban. the russians tend to label anyone in the caucuses who doesn't like them as a terrorist and extremist. they have done awful, terrible things. they have murdered people and have had gross human rights abuses. for the u.s. to be in league with the policies we have to be eye open. if we help the russians with counter terrorism strategy we will help them crack down on people who may not be adversaries of ours but of the russians, maybe people that aren't just extremists but people looking to stand up for their rights. that is the problem with the russian campaign is it doesn't distinguish between people who
are dangerous who are killing innocent people with other whose are demanding their rights. >> i am learning something tonight. thank you for that. right now to the end of 2012 we talk about it mitt romney thought he had it won. this guy until the middle of the night of election night in november 2012 thought he won the election and all of a sudden it is gone. it is amazing to watch these scenes inside the romney collapse. this is "hardball."
"mitt" is a portrait of mitt romney as he campaigned for president in 2008 and 2012. the strength of the film is the access able to get to the comments and conversations. what the audience sees behind the scenes is a private guy supported by a devoted family as he endures two punishing campaigns, both defeats. here is a preview from the trailer. >> if you don't win we will still love you. the country may think of you as a laughing stock and we'll know the truth. >> ouch. >> i look at what happens to anyone who loses as the nominee of the party. they become a loser for life. >> a year ago we said we would love you no matter how it turns
out. now we are not so sure. >> seven years in the making, mitt is the work of filmmaker greg whitely. i think what's great about your film is you give us a portrait of what politics is like at the highest level. not necessarily -- i know you may disagree about romney. but anyone who has to go into that incredible meat grinder. you showed him with his family in pictures where most people relax, a comfort zone, if you will. is this helpful for us understanding what he would be like in a crisis? >> that had never occurred to me. perhaps to a degree that's true. you see mitt romney under some very stressful situations. the access that i got were backstage with him both right before the big debate.
i was always impressed with the way he handled himself when things didn't go well. if it were me, i would curl up on my bed in my hotel room and not want to talk to anybody. failures would roll off his back, he was always anxious to be around his grandkids and his kids. one of the things i found most striking, which you probably remember, right after the second debate, there's that moment in which he's not properly prepped on benghazi, and barack obama is able to have a very significant moment in which -- >> we all remember that one. >> afterwards, you would imagine, how disappointed are you? this is a very difficult moment
in the campaign. and he's engaged in a debate with his son over where to get the best food at the laguardia airport. i don't think it's because he doesn't care about the campaign, i think it's because it's how he's learned to deal and cope under stressful situations. >> that's what struck me. we all remember election night. but your film showed us he didn't prepare at all for the possibility he wouldn't win. he knocked out his concession speech on his own ipad there. you can see him reading a draft of the stage before taking to the stage. here he is. >> this is a great time of challenge for the nation. no one's listening. >> what's going on. >> we're writing a concession speech. >> i'm sure she's stunned by the
whole development? what's he doing here? he's writing his concession speech. i remember covering it that night with rachel, i'm sitting there watching, okay, here is virginia too close to call. too close to call, that must mean that ohio is going to go for obama, that's when i figured out obama won. he did it the same way, he looked at florida by 500 votes. we ain't got any chance of winning ohio. it's interesting how we try to figure things he doesn't cry, which i've seen politicians do when they lose the big ones, nothing wrong with that, they just lost the big one. his reaction was so calm it was unusual. >> i asked him about that, just
about defeat in general. he used to quote his dad to me, and george romney would say, listen, i believe in public service. and i'm going to offer my public service, and if the public doesn't want it, fine. i've got a great life i can go back and live. i think mit really believed that. when you look at his family and the great life, the great lives they lead, part of it is due to the extraordinary success he's had in his life. i think he's a competitive guy. he was devastated. it was unbelievably disappointing. to be in the room the night he was learning this six-year endeavor was coming to an end and it was not going to be successful. you could feel the weight in that room and how difficult that
was. i was also -- i'm with you, that was -- that was my same observation. i just thought, no, he's telling the truth. he's got a great life, and if the public does not want his service, he's fine with that. >> you won't dislike mitt romney any more than you might already after watching this movie, you may like him a bit more. i wasn't stunned by, i met him in difficult circumstances when he's been incredibly gracious. it didn't surprise me that he's a gracious gentleman. for anyone who's thinking about running for office, the movie is called mitt, it's coming out on netflix, which is pretty hot right now.
let me finish tonight with this, the new york times quoted a politician saying how dangerous it is to commit a crime that the average person can understand. don't grab the money. don't screw the guy out there trying to buck traffic to get to work about suddenly the headlines and the airwaves are full of news about politicians being accused of doing the old time stuff, stuff that the average joe can get his head around. not for our time, the bizantine channels of iran contra. no, today the stories are about bridge jam and paid for shopping sprees in manhattan. for these gritty stories, we need marlon brando and karl malden, maybe that old muckraker himself to do the reporter, one
bit of good news to leave with you tonight, these stories are not hard to follow, are they? that's hardball for now, thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. we have breaking news tonight on the unfolding scandal in new jersey. dawn zimmer has said through her office to us that she has been requested by the u.s. attorney's office to do not do any further media interviews. yet another indicator of the serious turn the story has taken. if she's going to talk, the u.s. attorney prefers she do her talking with them. the christie administration now facing 20 subpoenas from the state assembly, all to his inner circle, which will have to be produced by february third. the inspector general has requested an investigation into